Snowden wants to claim asylum in Russia: Activists

US National Security Agency (NSA) fugitive leaker Edward Snowden (centre) during his today's meeting with leading Russian rights activists and lawyers at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he has been stuck in transit for the last three weeks. Snowd
US National Security Agency (NSA) fugitive leaker Edward Snowden (centre) during his today's meeting with leading Russian rights activists and lawyers at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he has been stuck in transit for the last three weeks. Snowden on Friday, July 12, 2013, told a group of activists in a meeting that he wanted to claim asylum in Russia because he is unable to fly to anywhere else. -- PHOTO: TWITTER

MOSCOW (AFP) - Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on Friday told a group of activists in a meeting that he wanted to claim asylum in Russia because he is unable to fly to anywhere else.

Human Rights Watch representative Tanya Lokshina told the Interfax news agency that Mr Snowden told participants “he wants to stay here” while public chamber state advisory body member Olga Kostina told ITAR-TASS that Snowden would request asylum in Russia.

The former US National Security Agency contractor met around a dozen Russian rights activists, lawyers and other figures in a closed-door meeting at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, an official said.

"Thirteen people went into the meeting," Sheremetyevo spokesman Anna Zakharenkova told reporters at the airport.

The meeting started as originally planned. Reports said it was taking place in a special area in the airport's Terminal F.

The representative of Human Rights Watch attending the meeting, Tanya Lokshina, posted a photograph of the start of the meeting which showed Snowden wearing a shirt without a tie sitting at a desk flanked by two women.

He appeared well dressed and healthy in the photograph, which was posted on Twitter by the executive director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth.